Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

Katchal Settler Issue Comes Up Again, Decision Taken to Vacate Tribal Land By December

Port Blair, July 29: The issue of Sri Lankan Settlers settled at Katchal Island under Govt. of India’s Scheme has once again come to the limelight after the Superintendent of Police, Nicobar District held a meeting with the settlers and leaders of the tribe. The meeting held was based on the demand raised by the Tribals to vacate non-tribals from their land.

After a long deliberation, it has been demanded by the settlers demanded that they be given a time of six months to vacate the land. This was later agreed by the Chief Captain of Katchal Shri Michael Joe and also the Chief of Tribal Council, Nancowrie Smti Ayesha Majid. It was decided that the settlers will vacate on their own by December 2013.

Speaking to Smti Ayesha Majid, CTC, Nancowrie, Andaman Chronicle learnt that the issue of vacating the land is not just confined to Sri Lankan Rubber Plantation Workers. The members of the tribe had also objected to the encroachment done by the Govt. Servants who served in the area and stayed back after retirement.

Shri Kalaiselvam, Secretary of the Sri Lankan Settlers Association while speaking to Chronicle explains that their issue is still pending in the Court of Law and the latest hearing was held today.

Supporting the cause of the Settlers, the Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray addressing the media today at BJP Bhawan said that he is for the settlers and an amicable solution should be reached as far as vacating them is concerned.

The Srilankan Settlers were settled in Katchal as Rubber Plantation Workers under the A&N Forest & Plantation Development Corporation way back in 1980s. Decades after the settlement, there was a demand made by the Settlers for an alternate land in South Andaman. After due consideration, a piece of land was earmarked by the Administration but re-settlement did not seem to workout. 

Massive protest was done by the Settlers and for the first time, Andaman Tamizhar Sangam and other organisations came out it support for the rights of the settlers. The protest gained momentum and political parties too extended their support for the cause. But the issue remained pending.